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Spring 2015

University of Texas at El Paso


Introduction to Politics (POLS 2310)

Course Number and Instructor Information

Name of the instructor- Abha Singh

Telephone # (915)-747-7981
E-Mail address -
Class website - Blackboard through MyUTEP portal (not to be used for
e-mail communications with the instructor)
Twitter - @asingh387
Class schedule - Mon/Wed/Fri - 10:30 AM-11:20 AM
CRN # 25142
Office Hours - Mon/Wed/Fri - 11:25 AM-12:25 PM
Office location - Benedict Hall # 309
Teaching AssistantsE-mail address
1) Rodrigo A Borunda
Benedict 204/747-7972

2) Ricardo A Romero

Benedict 204/747-7972

3) Isai Montero
P.A.S.S Leader
Yazmine Huizar

Course Description and ObjectivesCourse Description: POLS 2310 provides a broad overview of the study
politics, drawing from the four sub-fields in political science: comparative
politics, American politics, international relations, and political theory. As a
field, political science is incredibly interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on a
number of disciplines to understand and analyze the distribution of power
and authority across a diversity of political systems around the world. The
field therefore encompasses a diverse array of topics, from competing forms

of democracy to the nature of economic development. In this course, we will

explore the foundations of political science, paying particular attention to the
structural and procedural elements of politics. Along the way, well consider
authoritarianism and democracy, unitary and federalism, presidential and
parliamentary systems. Well also examine a number of contemporary
issues, including political violence, competing economic systems, and the
problem of declining voter turnout. Enhancing what we know about politics
and what we value should make us more effective in knowing how to behave
politically - as voters, political activists, and political decision makers.

Course Objectives: Upon satisfactory completion of the course, you

should be able to:

Define key concepts in the study of political systems, including power,

authority, legitimacy, state, and nation.

Compare and contrast the basic features of political systems from around
the world.

Use the key theoretical tools and approaches in political science to analyze
contemporary global political developments.

Textbook and Study Materials James Danziger., Understanding the Political World: A Comparative
Introduction to Political Science; Eleventh edition; Pearson Longman.
ISBN 13: 978-0-205-85492-9
ISBN 10: 0-205-85492-3
Longman Atlas of World Issues ; Second edition; Pearson Longman (provided
free with the Danziger text)
ISBN 13: 978-0-205-78020-4
ISBN 10: 0-205-78020-2
You are recommended to bring your textbook in every class.
Four scantron forms (# 882-E), #2 pencils, and extra erasers
Other reading materials and printouts will be assigned during the course.
Recommended information sources- National newspapers (The New York
Times, The Washington Post etc.), The El Paso Times, News magazines (Time,
Newsweek etc.), National Public Radio (NPR), TV News channels and Local

Course Requirements /Grading SystemThe course consists of four tests (including the non-comprehensive final exam)
carrying 45 points each. The lowest test grade among four tests will be dropped.
The student will be evaluated on the basis of total point system of 150 points
with the breakdown as follows-

Four Tests (45 point each including final) Lowest

test grade dropped:
Best three of four (45 x
3) = 135 points (90%)
Attendance and
participation = 15 points


Total = 150 points (100%)

The grade will be assigned on the basis of accumulated points during the course as




Letter Grade







Testing Rules-It is important for you to be present on the test days because
tests cannot be made-up EXCEPT due to emergencies such as hospitalization
or accidents. Under those circumstances, the supporting documents or
written evidence such as doctors notes, hospital records or police reports
are required to take the missed test. If you do not appear in the tests you
will be given a zero for that test. If you leave the testing room in the
middle of the test, you will not be allowed to return to finish the test. The
instructor will collect the test assuming that the test has been finished.
You are not supposed to write on the test but mark your
answers on your scantron. If there is any marking on the test, the instructor
might deduct five points off your grade for that test.
If you arrive late to take the test, you will only be able to start
as long as the instructor and the teaching assistants (if assigned to the class)

are physically present in the classroom. If the students have completed the
test and the instructor and the teaching assistants have left the classroom
after the test, the test is considered over.
Although the dates for the tests have been tentatively
scheduled (see Calendar); the dates could change due to some unforeseen
circumstances. You will be informed of any changes through a notice
provided either verbally or electronically.
Following activities will not be permitted and will be
considered cheating such as: copying from the test paper of another
student, engaging in written, oral, or any other means of communication with
another student during a test, or giving aid to or seeking aid from another
student during a test; possession and/or use during a test of materials which
are not authorized by the person giving the test, such as class notes, books,
or specifically designed crib notes; using, obtaining, or attempting to obtain
by any means the whole or any part of non-administered test, test key,
homework solution, or computer program; using a test that has been
administered in prior classes or semesters but which will be used again either
in whole or in part without permission of the instructor; or accessing a test
bank without instructor permission; collaborating with or seeking aid from
another student for an assignment without authority; substituting for another
person, or permitting another person to substitute for one's self, to take a
test; and falsifying research data, laboratory reports, and/or other records or
academic work offered for credit.
If you are caught engaged in any of the above activities, the
matter will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students for possible
disciplinary action.
Extra Credit- There is no extra credit.
Grade records- All grades are posted on the blackboard to help you keep
track of your progress. You are expected to review your grades regularly. It
not only keeps you knowledgeable about your progress in the class but at
the same time avoids any false expectations you may have about your
performance in the future (I thought...I was making an A... how I ended up
with a D??). If in doubt, you are encouraged to contact the instructor
about your progress in the class. If there is a question or dispute about a
specific grade that you received, the matter should be brought to the
attention of the instructor immediately so that the matter could be resolved
in the timely manner. You have three months since the date grade was
received to challenge/question your final grade.
Study requirements- A calendar regarding reading assignments and
upcoming tests is attached with this document. The instructor will give
students oral/e-mail notice of any changes in the calendar in advance. It is
your responsibility to finish your reading assignment before you come to the
classroom in order to fully comprehend the discussed materials. The
instructors lecture may not be limited to the topics stated on the calendar;
you are encouraged to gather information in addition to textbook and the

reading materials provided by the instructor for the better learning and
understanding of the subject. The PowerPoint slides will be posted on the
blackboard after the end of discussion of each chapter in the class. Any
distribution or duplication of Power Points slides, handouts or reading
materials is strictly prohibited as they are provided to the students solely to
be used as study aids only FOR and BY the students.

Stay informed- Know your academic situation prior to the withdrawal from
class deadline. You will not get a W grade after the withdrawal deadline. If
you have a question about how are you doing in the class, take your
concerns as an opportunity to visit the instructor and discuss your situation.
To wait until after mid-terms or waiting until the last week to see how things
are going will lead to playing academic catch-up, a no-win situation. Keep
yourself informed.

Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS) - If you believe you
have a disability requiring an accommodation, please see the instructor
immediately, either before or after the class or during the office hours, to
discuss any special needs you might have. If you have a documented
disability and require specific accommodations, contact the Center for
Accommodations and Support Services (CASS) (formerly known as the
Disabled Student Services Office) in 106, Union East within the first two
weeks of classes. CASS can also be reached in the following ways: Web: ; E-Mail: ; Fax: (915) 747-8712; Phone:
(915) 747-5148 Voice/ TTY

Attendance and Participation- Attendance is taken every day through the

response system by Turning Technologies. If you are going to be absent due
to any reason you must provide advance notice of your anticipated absence
to the instructor. Any excused absence must be backed up by supporting
documents; such as, through a note from your doctor that specifies the exact
time and date of your required absence, or a letter from your coach that
specifies your participation in a scheduled out-of-town game. A personal
phone call, e-mail, or a note from a friend or family member does not
constitute a valid excuse for absence. Please keep in mind that the
attendance constitutes 10% of your grades and can make or break your
grade. Plan on coming to class on a consistent and punctual basis and you
will not have problems with the class attendance policy.
Although it remains your responsibility to make sure that your
response device is registered and functioning properly, the instructor will
allow students who have had technical problems with their devices to submit
a brief summary (1-2 pages) about that days lecture in the following class in
order to get credit for that days attendance /participation. If the summary is
not submitted by the next scheduled class, it will not be accepted regardless
of the circumstances. The summary must outline the topics covered and
examples discussed during that class and should not be a copy of the
textbooks chapter about those issues. If the instructor does not believe that
the summary covers the lecture from the previous class, the instructor is not

obligated to accept that for attendance points. Please keep in mind that only
a maximum of TWO summaries will be allowed for the technical problems
associated with the device for the entire course. The
attendance/participation points given either through the summaries or the
supporting documents are at the discretion of the instructor and cannot be
negotiated or contested.
In order to get attendance/participation points for each class
session, you must participate in the live polling at the beginning and the end
of the class through your response device. If you participate in the polling at
the beginning of the class and leave the class early without informing the
instructor, you will not receive any attendance points. If you arrive late and
participate in the polling only at the end of the class, you will only receive
partial credit for that session.
Students are strongly encouraged to participate actively in the
class. The instructor welcomes the inquiry and questions regarding the
issues and topics being discussed. Critical thinking on your part gives you
the ability to understand and analyze the current events relevant to the
subject and help you apply the knowledge gained throughout the semester to
the outside world. Active class participation and constant interaction is vital
to the success in this course.
If there is a conflict in your schedule which does not permit you
to attend classes regularly and punctually, you are recommended to select
another class which might fit your schedule better. It is your responsibility to
withdraw from the class, if need arises. If your unexcused absences add up
to five or more, you may be dropped from the course.
Documents Deadline- No notes, summaries, records or documents either for
the attendance or for the tests will be accepted after the final exam.
Turning Technologies Device (Response card) This technology is used as an
audience response system that allows students to actively participate in
classes and presentations. The instructor can use common formats such as a
web browser, PowerPoint, Word, or PDF to ask questions; the students
respond using a small hand-held device (known as ResponseCard device)
assigned to each student. It not only helps make classroom sessions more
interactive, it can correlate in-class feedback and responses to surveys and
quizzes through live polling, then display anonymous results in real time
using charts and graphs. Data is captured to generate reports such as
attendance/participation point allocations which are later integrated into the
Blackboard grade center.
A ResponseCard Device ID (available at the UTEP bookstore or purchased
directly through the company) must be registered in a timely manner to
receive credit in the class for attendance/participation. In order to register
your device, please go to the course website on Blackboard and use the link

Turning Technologies Registration Tool on Home Page and follow the

instructions to complete the registration.
Instructions on how to use the device can be found at:
Contacting Customer Support- It is your responsibility to make sure that
your device is functioning properly. Technical Support from Turning
Technologies is available Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. EST. From
within the continental United States, you can reach Customer Service toll-free
by calling 1-877-726-4602. If calling from outside the United States please
call +1-330-746-3015.
Customer Service may also be reached at:
P.A.S.S - You are strongly encouraged to participate in the PASS (Peers
assisting student success) program offered by the university as a pilot of a
student success program. It is based on the supplemental instruction model
and provides structured review sessions led by one of my students who have
done well in my courses in the past. The initial evaluation of PASS conducted
by the university proves that the students who have participated in those
sessions have done better than their peers in the same classes. The time,
date and place of these sessions are regularly posted by the PASS leader on
the blackboard.
Electronic Equipment- Cell phones, Mp3 players, and headphones are not
allowed in the classroom. If a cell phone rings in the classroom or if you are
caught texting, the first time you will get a warning and then onwards you will
be asked to leave the classroom for the remainder of the class and will be
counted absent for that class.
If you want to use the laptop or tablet for notetaking, you must be seated in the first two rows of the class. However,
chatting, e-mailing, internet browsing, or any activity not related to official
class activity is strictly prohibited. If you are found using your laptops/tablets
for activities unrelated to the class work, you will be banned from using them
for the remainder of the semester.
Visitors- No children are allowed in the classroom. Guests are welcome but
please discuss it with the instructor beforehand.
Professional language-Despite the fact that the instructor happens to be
perfectly capable of reading any incoherent drivel you may send to
instructors (e-mail) inbox directly from your phone keypad, ya I cnt make it 2
clss lol is quite unprofessional. Therefore, the instructor wishes to impose a
higher standard of grammar, spelling, and use of the enter key upon the
students and kindly request that all e-mails sent to the instructor resemble
any other letter to your teacher or supervisor. The e-mails should contain
your name, ID, class and should refrain from questions regarding information
already found in the syllabus/calendar. The instructor will not be obligated to
respond to the e-mails which do not meet above criteria.

Disruptive behavior- You could be removed or dropped from the class if you
are found engaged in talking excessively and loudly, sleeping, text
messaging, entering and leaving the classroom unnecessarily, being rude to
the instructor, making inappropriate comments about fellow students and
other behaviors described at the university website as unacceptable or
Disclaimer- The instructor reserves the right to change any or this entire
document during the semester as the need arises. Notice of any changes in
the syllabus would be given in writing with the exception of calendar, which
would be given either verbally or through the e-mail. Students are advised to
visit university website for any other college policies and procedures.


Reading Assignment for Introduction to Politics (POLS 2310)

Reading List

Topics covered

Political Behavior1/21

Discussion of syllabus and course

Chapter 1

Politics and Knowledge

Chapter 2

Political Theory and Political Beliefs

Political Ideology
Chapter 3

Political Actions

Chapter 4

Influences on Beliefs and Actions


Review for Test-1

Test 1- Monday, February 16th (Tentative)

Political Systems-

Chapter 5

States and Nations

Chapter 6

Political Institutions I: Structures

A complex political system

Chapter 7

Political Institutions II: Institutional Arrangements

Map 6 (Longman Atlas)

Chapter 8

Political Economy

Map 1, 4 (Longman Atlas)

Comparison of three
conceptions of Political Economy

Review for Test-2

Test 2- Friday, March 20th (Tentative)

Political Processes3/23-3/27
Chapter 9

Public Policy, Power, and Decision

Chapter 10

Change and Political Development

Chapter 11

Politics across Borders

Map 8 (Longman Atlas)

of International Organizations
Chapter 12

Political Violence

Map 5 (Longman Atlas)


Review for Test-3

Test 3- Friday, April 17th (Tentative)

Political World4/20-4/24
Chapter 13

The Developed Countries

Map 2 (Longman Atlas)

Chapter 14

The Developing Countries

Map 3, 7 (Longman Atlas)

Chapter 15

The Transitional Developed Countries


Review for Test-4

Test 4 (Final) Friday, May 15th (10:00 AM)

*Dates to rememberSpring Break - (No classes) - March 9-13

Spring Study Day (No class day) - April 3
Course drop deadline - April 6